Archive for the ‘Champions League’ Category

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At the end of this current transfer window the top six Premier League clubs, (seven, if you include Everton), will have spent millions of pounds improving their squads to have another tilt at winning the title next season.

For five of the top six Champion’s League football also beckons so they need the depth of squad to be able to juggle this with their other commitments.

Arsenal and Everton will compete in the Europa League so it is fair to say that their quality and quantity will also be tested.

The big question is: Will an English club win the Champion’s League next season? (more…)

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Here, admittedly before many transfers have been completed, we take a look at who will be among the favourites for the Champion’s League next season.

From Real Madrid through to Manchester United, managers at the top European clubs will be under pressure to deliver silverware at the highest level. They will be expected to mount a domestic title challenge and the elite few will also be expected to mount a challenge for Europe’s top prize.

They could be viewed as a European top six and we fully expect the following clubs to at least reach the quarter finals of the competition: (more…)

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Yet again that mediocre La Liga has three teams through to the quarter finals of the Champion’s League, while that brilliant, exciting, competitive and just all-round good egg Premier League has one.

The good thing is that to prove it’s massive superiority over La Liga, it was a Premier League club which knocked out Sevilla. Yes, little old Leicester did what Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t do, they made it through to the quarter finals. (more…)

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Well folks, it’s that time of the year again! European competition has returned with the start of the knockout stages of both the Champion’s League and the Europa League.

This article was supposed to be a preview of the two tournaments BEFORE any of the games had been played but, thanks to missed deadlines due to oversleeping, is now published after the first round of them has finished.

Fortunately only Arsenal, out of the English contingent, have played their first leg game and everybody knew what was going to happen before a ball was even kicked. (more…)

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Manchester City have once again been told that they are in the “Group of Death”. This should come as no surprise to either the supporters or to anybody connected with the club. Manchester City always get drawn in the “Group of Death”.

The problem here is the inferiority complex which could develop through this attitude. Why is this the toughest group from which to qualify just because it contains Barcelona? Over two games I would expect City to take at least one point from Messi and co. This leaves Borussia Mönchengladbach and Celtic. From these four games I would expect at least eight points which would give them a total of nine, more than likely enough to see them through in second place. (more…)

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So, failing to qualify for the Champion’s League is not the disaster that all the “experts” predicted it would be. In fact it appears to have had little or no impact on the two main “failures” in England. These are the two teams who contested the final only eight years ago in Moscow! The ability of Manchester United and Chelsea to sign top players and managers does not appear to have been diminished at all.

It is probably true to say that a prolonged absence from the competition would begin to have a negative effect at some stage as a considerable amount of money can be made by appearing in Europe’s top competition. The loss of this money over a sustained period would prove harmful to the clubs trying to attract the best players and, by doing so, make qualifying again the following year a more difficult proposition. In this respect it is a vicious circle. (more…)

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Without playing particularly well, (by their own standards anyway), Barcelona were able to win this game as though they had played particularly well.

Arsenal had chances and should have certainly scored at least one goal. They didn’t and, against a side as good as Barcelona, that will always be a problem. As Aaron Ramsey pointed out the Spanish side average a goal per game so somebody WAS going to score for them.

When the goals came they came from Lionel Messi. No surprise there you may think but, before tonight, he had NEVER scored against Petr Cech.

His first was laid on a plate for him by Neymar, who unselfishly squared the ball back for him to take a touch, which beat Cech all ends up, then place the ball in the net.

His second came from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Mathieu Flamini, who was making his first tackle having just come on as a substitute for Coquelin.

(more…)

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The Champion’s League suddenly has a new significance for Chelsea this time around. Winning it looks like their best, if not only, route back into it next season.

A dismal Premier League campaign which only started to turn around when Guus Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho was, at one stage, seeing them involved in a relegation battle. Although Hiddink hasn’t pulled up any trees he has steadied the ship somewhat and Chelsea now sit in twelfth position which is only “very” embarrassing as opposed to the “extremely” embarrassing position of a couple of months ago.

The problem with winning this competition is that Chelsea, in all their years competing, have only managed to do it once. Having lost a final against Manchester United, on penalties, they could say they were a little unlucky. They weren’t, they were outplayed for most of the game and were fortunate to hang on for penalties.

The year they won it has to go down as one of the most fortuitous campaigns ever witnessed in the history of the Champion’s League. They should have been hammered by Barcelona in the semi-final, where players were sent off and penalties were missed and, in fairness, having got through to the final, most people agreed that Chelsea’s name was on the trophy that season. (more…)

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Jose Mourinho didn’t need to win this game. He didn’t even need to draw this game. He can be eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage, knocked out of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge by the Wheeltappers and Shunters social club second eleven, and be relegated to the Championship and it won’t bother him a jot. Why? Because he has what nobody else in Britain has had since Lord Ferg retired. He has job security!

He knows Roman Abramovich so well that he knows the innermost thoughts of the Chelsea owner without being told what they are.

Convinced as he is that he has a job for life that still didn’t stop him urging, cajoling and pushing his team hard for the victory which keeps him in the competition if not important in keeping him in a job.

Chelsea were not their last-season-excellent selves, they were just efficient and did a good job when that was what was required. A 2-0 win sees them stagger into the knockout stage where they will lose to either Benfica, PSG or Juventus. (more…)

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Manchester City hoped that Sevilla would do them a favour. They weren’t asking for much, just that a team who were already out of the competition should have enough pride and desire to please their fans and beat Juventus, in the process denying them top spot and a marginally easier opponent in the first knockout round.

City’s deal in all this was to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach, thereby enabling them to finish top and get the marginally easier opponent in the first knockout round.

Manchester United hoped that CSKA Moscow would do them a favour. They also weren’t asking for much, just that a team who were already out of the competition should have enough pride and desire to please their fans and beat PSV Eindhoven, in the process denying them qualification to the first knockout round and allowing United to qualify even if they could only manage a draw or even a defeat against Wolfsburg.

What United were hoping for was a safety net in case they couldn’t beat Wolfsburg which, as it turned out, they couldn’t. (more…)